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Harry Francis Anstey (24 July 1847–6 July 1927) was a metallurgist and gold prospector who led the prospecting expedition that discovered gold in the Yilgarn , leading to the gold rush that established Western Australia's Eastern Goldfields .
Born in England in 1847, Anstey was educated at Rugby from 1863 to 1865. In 1877, he was living in Earl's Court, London and working as a civil engineer; that year he married Edith Euphemia Carnegie. Anstey arrived in Western Australia on the Yeoman in June 1887, and set up a metallurgical laboratory in Perth.
Shortly afterwards1, Anstey was invited to join the prospectors Dick Greaves and Ted Payne in a prospecting expedition to Bindoon . Soon after their return, news reached Perth that a Yilgarn farmer had found a nugget while sinking a bore. In response to this news, a prospecting syndicate was formed, and the party was sent to the Yilgarn, with Anstey in command. On about 20 October, the party discovered a rich reef in the Yilgarn Ranges , near the present day site of the town of Southern Cross. The discovery prompted the gold rush that established Southern Cross and the Yilgarn Goldfield, and led to the subsequent rich finds at Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie that established the Eastern Goldfields . Many years later, Dick Greaves published The Golden West and How it was Discovered, a book about the discovery of the Yilgarn goldfields, in which he claimed that Anstey was a poor metallurgist; that his contribution to the discovery of the Yilgarn Goldfield was minor; and that he had unfairly claimed both the credit and the financial reward for the discovery.
After returning to Perth, Anstey was appointed Government Assayer in 1889. In 1890 he was living in the Cockburn Sound area, and from 1893 he was a farmer at Jarrahdale . From 22 August 1893 until July 1894, Anstey was a nominated member of the Western Australian Legislative Council. On 16 July 1894, he contested the Legislative Council seat of South West Province but was unsuccessful. In subsequent years he speculated in real estate in Claremont and Bassendean, but in 1898 financial difficulties prompted him to sell his properties and move to Cardup , where he became an orchardist.
In 1899, Anstey returned to England. Some time in the early 1910s, he moved to Camberley, Surrey. After his wife died in 1926, he retired to Falmouth. He died on 6 July 1927 in a private nursing home in London.
- Greaves (1903) claims May 1887 but Anstey did not arrive in Western Australia until June.
- Black, David and Geoffrey Bolton (2001). Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia, Volume One, 1870–1930 (Revised Edition). Parliament of Western Australia, Parliament House, Perth, Western Australia. ISBN 0730738140.
- Greaves, Richard (1903). The Golden West and How it was Discovered. Perth 1903. Republished in 1981 by Hesperian Press, Victoria Park, Western Australia. ISBN 0859050092.
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